Adoptive Parent Fragility Self-Test

Post was shared via Harlow’s Monkey Facebook page on December 16, 2018.

Shared from an adoptive parent friend.

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Copied (with permission) from a group [poster is] in:

“ADOPTIVE PARENT FRAGILITY SELF-TEST

(Adapted from Ally Henny’s *White Fragility Self-Test)

Ask yourself the following:

1. Do I feel defensive when an adoptee or (birth/first) mother says “adoptive parents tend to…?”

2. Do I feel angry when people tell me I benefit from AP privilege — that the adoption industry works in my favor, or that my socioeconomic class and/or race enabled me to adopt?

3. When an adoptee or mother talks about adoption, do I feel defensive because they’re describing things that I do or think?

4. Do I feel angry or annoyed by the above questions?

5. Do I have a history of embracing H/AP behavior that I now feel ashamed of, so I need to show people that I’m no longer “like that”?

6. Does saying “not all adoptive parents” or similar phrases make me feel better when someone calls APs out for something?

7. Do I expect an apology when I feel like I’ve been unfairly accused of poor AP behavior?

8. Do I feel better when I say, hear, or read, “every (adoption) experience is different?”

9. Do I try to convince adoptees and mothers that they’re wrong about adoption by pointing out people from their position in the triad who agree with me?

10. Do I feel the need to talk about my own hardships (such as infertility, a “failed” adoption, or a difficult childhood) when an adoptee or mother talks about their pain?

11. Do I think the adoption community would benefit if people stopped talking about the hard stuff, were more supportive, learned from “both sides,” or focused more on the positive?

12. Does being told that something I say, think, do, or otherwise value is harmful make me want to shut down, leave, or express my discomfort/displeasure in some way?

13. Do I feel the need to state that I have friends/family who are adoptees when someone points out problematic behavior?

14. Do I feel the need to prove that I’m one of the good ones?

15. Do I feel that my opinions and perspectives about adoption should be given equal weight to that of an adoptee or mother, that I have something unique and important to contribute to the adoption conversation, and/or that it is unfair to be told to listen more than I speak?

16. Do I feel the need to defend myself on any of the above points down in the comments section?

***

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are dealing with AP fragility. Take time to reflect on why you feel the way that you do. Take time to listen to adoptee and mothers’ perspectives.

AP fragility is a hindrance to healing because it prevents adoptees/mothers from being able to engage APs in honest conversation without also having to bear the burden of catering to APs’ emotional comfort.

At its worst, AP fragility can cause an emotionally unhealthy situation for adoptees/mothers because of the power dynamics and the weight of being responsible for APs’ feelings, while not having space to express their own.

There is also the weight that comes with people that you care about lashing out at and abusing you (verbally, emotionally, and/or digitally).

If we cannot talk honestly about the issues, then we cannot make progress.

*White Fragility, as defined by DiAngelo, is the result of white racial socialization. A state in which even a minimum amount of stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. This often applies to APs as well. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, and behaviors such and as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial comfort and status quo.

~Adapted by an adoptive parent

Birthday Blues, Episode 2

My 33rd birthday passed last weekend. As usual, I didn’t think much of it and casually started talking about how to celebrate it with friends.

When brainstorming, I consider what I haven’t done before and what I could do on short notice. The idea to camp in Yosemite was explored and became my birthday destination!

I invited a few friends,  but since all of my dear friends traveled long distances to my graduation two weeks prior, they all gracefully declined.

It was all good because I was going to go anyways, which turned out to be the best outcome.

I packed by bags, picked up camping gear from my sister, set my GPS and hit the road.

I arrived on Friday, set up camp, hiked a bit and meditated. Being that I am from a country where there is at least a 12 hour time distance, I find myself thinking of my first mother the day before my birthday. I thought about her all day in fact. Its not uncommon for adoptees to some how include our first families in our thoughts at this time of year.

This year seemed the same as last. I was not really in a celebratory mood or really desired a lot of attention.

Saturday morning arrived and it was officially my birthday. My mother and stepdad came to my camp for the day. As soon as they showed up, they wanted to rest and take a nap. I took off and began to explore northern Yosemite on my own. It was a magical moment to be out in the wilderness on my own. I breathed, cried, stared at the waterfalls, prayed, and sat in silence.

Throughout the whole day, I thought about my first mother and what she could possibly be thinking about, feeling, and if she was imagining me as a 33 year old young woman. I missed her. I mourned because it is truly unlikely that I will ever meet her again and have a relationship with her.

Last year on my birthday, I was in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The city was full of Catholic churches. It was nice to have a piece of Goa with me on my birthday. https://theadopteediary.com/2015/07/02/birthday-blues/

This year was similar. I wasn’t surrounded by Catholic churches, but I was surrounded by beautiful Indian families. It was nice to have a visual reminder of my first home on my birthday. indians in yosemite

It was nice to be alone, on my own, and free to not celebrate my birthday in the traditional sense.